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Commission approves Darlington Police Department 2019 budget
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DARLINGTON – At the Darlington Police Commission annual report meeting Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 statistics were reported and budget was increased above the allowable 2%.
    Darlington Police Chief Jason King explained the budget proposal for 2019 will increase at 3.03% because of a single police officer changing his insurance from a single to family insurance coverage, which increased the amount paid in insurance costs by $11,000.
    King said “There is no way I can present a budget at 2%, without cutting other things. The city cost in health insurance went down and that helped out a lot. It’s unfair to cut policing services because an officer decides to take advantage of a benefit that was afforded to him by city government.”   
    King spoke about programs and fees and explained those are going up, because of technology. To meet their current fees for technologies, the department had to up their fees by $2,000.
    King then introduced a new program called Lexipol that will cost $3,207 per year, with discounts from the city’s insurance company. Lexipol is a computerized managed risk management program that takes care of the departments policies and training.
    King said, “This program will train officers on policies and that will avoid litigation and lawsuits. Every day there will be a training video that officers will need to sign off on. This will keep a record of their training.”
    The committee discussed and asked questions regarding current training and how Lexipol will help the department. It was mentioned that one lawsuit lost would pay for a lot of subscription time.
    A motion was made and approved the 2019 budget, there-by approving the purchase of Lexipol. This will need to go through the finance committee.
2019 Budget
    The 2019 budget increased from the projected 2018 budget by 3.03%. This is 1.03% above the 2% that Darlington Departments were told they could raise their budgets. The total project expenses for 2017 is $504,031 and the 2019 budget asks for $511,777. The largest part of the budget is payroll, FICA and benefits which is at $469,675. Revenues for 2019 is set at $16,120 compared to 2018 at $13,842.
    •Purchased a scanner for $1,000 because of the new Spillman program in 2018.
    •Purchased in-squad laptops and in-squad video in 2018.
2017 Annual Report
    Chief King presented the 2017 Police Department Annual Report. The report listed the 2,535 incidents that the department dealt with in 2017. The highest number of incidents are listed in order: Traffic stops – 206; citizen assist – 176; check welfare – 165; unsecure premises – 146 and traffic offenses – 118. Of the 132 arrest made in 2017 the top five arrests listed were: disorderly conduct – 38; all other – 27; liquor law violations – 15; fraud – 14 and larceny theft – 13. There were nine DUI’s in 2017. King stated, “We continue to see a very low crime rate.”
    Other business:
    •K9 program received almost $3,300 and expenses were $725. The current outlay account is just shy of $10,000. Kilo (the department’s K9) is eight years old, which is the life expectancy for a K9’s career. It will cost $15,00 to replace the K9.
    •Annual Brat Feed and Ball game raised $1,524.
    •Using ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform and evacuate) at the school and businesses to deal with a live shooter situation. King is certified to teach the program.
    •Other programs include “Shop with a Cop” Heroes Camp, Advocacy,
    •A Ranger that was donated to Darlington Police Department from Polaris has been delivered. It will be used on the trail and for special events and will be equipped for police duty.
    •Committee member Stu Vamsted mentioned there is no center line on old center Hill Road, a very busy street during morning school traffic rush hour. King said that is a Darlington Township road and he will check into it.
    •Chair Dave Gough thinks something should be done to the driveway south of Casey’s to insure people do not make an illegal left turn. Paint on the ground and signs were discussed.